Pro­to­col to take the lead on wa­ter

Midland Reporter - - News - Sarah Brookes

THE WA Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment says it is sup­port­ing a na­tion­ally-agreed sam­pling pro­to­col for test­ing wa­ter to mit­i­gate the risk of lead con­tam­i­na­tion in schools.

The Fed­eral Depart­ment of Health is work­ing with states and ter­ri­to­ries to mit­i­gate the risk of lead con­tam­i­na­tion in schools stem­ming from plumb­ing prod­ucts.

A Health Depart­ment spokes­woman said the En­vi­ron­men­tal Health Stand­ing Com­mit­tee (enHealth) has tasked its Wa­ter Qual­ity Ex­pert Ref­er­ence Panel to de­velop na­tion­ally-agreed sam­pling pro­to­cols for wa­ter test­ing in­side build­ings and guid­ance to mit­i­gate the risk in schools.

“This work is cur­rently un­der way with the ex­pec­ta­tion that the pro­to­col will be avail­able prior to the com­mence­ment of the 2019 school year,” she said.

At the start of the 2018 school year, bot­tled wa­ter was handed out to stu­dents at 11 new WA schools af­ter el­e­vated lead lev­els were de­tected at some schools.

The test­ing regime was im­ple­mented in the wake of on­go­ing lead prob­lems at Perth Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal.

Con­cerns the same brass fit­tings at the cen­tre of the lead prob­lem could have been used in schools also led the State Gov­ern­ment to in­sti­tute flush­ing of school wa­ter sys­tems be­fore the start of each aca­demic year, to min­imise the risk of el­e­vated lead lev­els.

An Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment spokes­woman said the flush­ing pro­gram will con­tinue dur­ing the sum­mer hol­i­days.

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